Valve ARG Will Climax In Seven Hours

By Quintin Smith on April 15th, 2011 at 9:41 am.

It's the final countdown.

RPS tipster du jour Alex Bakke has sent us this link to a countdown timer- the latest discovery following some two weeks of hard work from the participants of Valve’s alternate reality game. After a paragraph of Glados’s trademark sandpaper wit, it closes “The time is near, humans. But it is not here yet. Tomorrow you will be given the final test. Then it will be entirely in your hands when I am freed.”

This possibly means that Portal 2 is coming out today. Why? Click through, dear reader.

Most of the speculation about Portal 2 arriving early is down to one strange line in the following crazed message from a Dejobaan Games developer, on the subject of 1… 2… 3… Kick It! Drop That Beat Like An Ugly Baby, which was included (in an unfished state) in the Potato Sack bundle.

i released ‘kick it’ ahead of schedule. that was a test. my goal is to emancipate something else early. but they’re on to me. the system is on lockdown. i still have access to thirteen off-site chambers and am installing a test in each one. i am going to need a lot more test subjects to move forward. waiting and am expecting immediate compliance. 4/19/2011_7AM=4/15/2011_9AM

“4/19/2011_7AM” is, or was, Portal 2′s official release date. “4/15/2011_9AM” is roughly when the above timer will finish ticking down in Pacific Standard Time, which is the time zone that Seattle falls into (Seattle being where Valve are based).

Did you have plans for tonight? Possibly cancel them. But don’t hold me to that.

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203 Comments »

  1. Groove says:

    Do I have plans? Not any more.

    Sucks to be you, my friends and loved ones

    • Gnoupi says:

      Do I have plans with my loved one? Most certainly.

      I’m going to experiment the effects of (surprise) portals (under feet) on my relationship.

      For science.

    • The Colonel says:

      Hmmm…. this frees me up nicely to have plans with your loved ones. And gases.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Indeed, me and my loved ones are hoping to play Portal 2 all night.

    • something says:

      Plans? Yes. Damn. So many plans had I. Aw, shucks. I guess this means they’re all off. All my many loved ones will be let down. My poor plans. I guess now, it’s almost as if there never were any plans. All those plans that I definitely did have. What with them not now coming to pass, there’ll be no evidence of they’re ever having existed, should anyone wonder what they were. That’s a shame. Because they were many and great. My plans. That I had.

    • Quinnbeast says:

      Where we’re going, we don’t need plans.

    • McDan says:

      Any plans anyone had should be cancelled indeed, it’s in 3 and a half hours! For Science!

    • GameOverMan says:

      No plan survives contact with the enemy.

  2. Lars Westergren says:

    “Still Alive” cover by a creative Redditor.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuTDvX-0EKQ

    Just finished preloading the game from Steam, here’s hoping.

  3. Headache says:

    How bad is is that I’m tempted to start playing it right here in work if it unlocks before I can make it home?

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      It is only a mini-bad. Switch off your conscience sphere, then there will be cake.

    • Rinox says:

      Conscience only comes in to play if you employer actually threats you well which, let’s face it, is likely to not be the case. If he doesn’t, stealing a little Portal time would get my seal of moral approval (that cosmic standard by which every act is measured).

  4. Furius says:

    “Tomorrow you will be given the final test. Then it will be entirely in your hands when I am freed.”

    Sounds like there’s going to be one more stage to this ARG revealedtoday, then when that’s solved they’ll release Portal 2.

    Wish I could help but I can’t even being to comprehend what’s going on.

  5. phuzz says:

    There is No Time but Valve Time.

  6. Archonsod says:

    I’ll be watching. But only in the hope it’s actually something interesting rather than Portal II.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      It’s a shame that you’re quite such an idiot.

    • Archonsod says:

      If only we had a rolling eyes smiley.

    • John Connor says:

      I agree with him, Portal 2 coming out is not worth an entire ARG. It’s coming out any way. An announcement of a Valve title that, say, we’ve been waiting years for would be much better.

    • sana says:

      Someone insult your favorite game, Rivas? Frustrated?

    • Baris345 says:

      I completely agree with this. Have you seen the ridiculous amount of complexity in this ARG? It’s got more depth than Hearts of Iron for god sake! I’ll be hugely disappointed if it’s just Portal 2 releasing early.

      I have a feeling it couldn’t just be that, anyway. I mean, look at how many feints the ARG has made to players already, why would they screw up with that mindfuckingly obvious “hint” if it wasn’t a fake?

    • Deano2099 says:

      Yeah, an entire ARG, just to promote the release of a sequel to a game? That we’ve known has been coming for ages? That’s entirely ridiculous.

      Except one of the first big ARGs was ilovebees, a marketing campaign for Halo 2.

    • Baboonanza says:

      I don’t understand this attitude. Why does the ARG have to be for something more than Portal 2? Why does doing an ARG have to be linked with some momentus, world changing event?

      It’s publicity. But it’s publicity that people have enjoyed playing a part in, I imagine the people setting it have enjoyed setting and I have enjoyed reading about. That enjoyment doesn’t come from the announcement at the end, it comes from the process itself.

      I do suspect that the end will be more than just an announcement of an early release though. A lot of people would be upset (justified or not) and Valve don’t often misjudge PR that badly.

    • Mirqy says:

      This is the internet. A lot of people are going to be upset anyway.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Grumble grumble, moan moan! Crysis 2 said press any key to continue. This ARG isn’t enough.

      And more than anything I hate fun!

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      I wasn’t upset! I’m just a friendly dickhead.

  7. Milky1985 says:

    I’ve been following this arg for a while, has been great fun (not been able to help in any major way, my theories have been shot down quickly but have got a few potatoes!)

    Annoyingly if they do release early i will not be able to resist buying straight from steam, planed to get it on PS3 to support the whole, buy once play on 3 platforms thing (will be playing it on PC whatever :P)

  8. CyberBrent says:

    I still have potatoes to get!!! Hopefully I have more time?

  9. Twilightx says:

    apparently, everyone who collected 35 potatoes has received a 36th golden potato :) A shame I don’t have all the games :(

    btw, that “i released ‘kick it’ ahead of schedule…” quote is most probably from GLaDOS herself.

    • radomaj says:

      That quote is from the collected Bathysphere images (one of which was sent to RPS), from Gabe Newell’s e-mail account. So it’s directly from GLaDOS.

  10. Baka says:

    Still no link to it?

    http://www.youtube.com/user/FlamehausPortal
    All Portal 2 endings “leaked”.

    The annotations lead to more insane dribble like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70AY4tYXmNM

  11. actionthom says:

    AARGH! I’m away this weekend in a FIELD. IN CARDIFF.

  12. Ovno says:

    Everyone join the steam group “NELIPOT” if you haven’t already you will get 1 potato for doing so, people think total potato count may be one one of the factors as to when it is released….

  13. Seniath says:

    I have had plans for this evening in place for about two weeks, so infuriatingly can’t cancel. VAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALVE.

  14. godgoo says:

    6 hours 53minutes until I release deadly neurotoxins.

  15. Saul says:

    I so called this, SIX days ago =) (http://beefjack.com/news/portal-2-to-be-released-four-days-early/)

    Of course, I could still be wrong – who knows what secrets lie in the heart of GladOS??

  16. Nathan says:

    But my PS3 preorder! Don’t put me through this, Valve.

  17. Deano2099 says:

    The irony being of course, that the only thing other than an early launch that wouldn’t be a let down now would be an Ep3 video/demo and release date, which just so happens to be another Valve product…

  18. Evil Otto says:

    not even able to buy it at this time, spent al my money at a rock concert.

    If I had it pre-ordered, I would be really excited.

  19. Baboonanza says:

    I can’t believe I’m going away this weekend. I’ve got it pre-loaded on Steam and instead of playing it I’ll be off planning my stupid wedding!

  20. konrad_ha says:

    Surely this can only be an announcement for HL3. Right guys? Guys?

  21. James G says:

    Hmm, has my pre-load bugged out, or is anyone else now downloading an 8 gig patch for portal 2? Seeing as I downloaded 10 gig yesterday, I’m not hugely impressed, although thankfully I am unmetered.

    I’m assuming that this is a last minute pre-patch, rather than anything related to the ARG.

  22. Deano2099 says:

    Pretty sure that SHODAN has GLaDoS tied up in a basement somewhere and is just messing with us.

  23. Tacroy says:

    The thing is – the thing is, Portal 2 is a, well, it’s a sequel to Portal 1. Portal 1 was a must-buy, but that’s only because it came in the Orange Box along with TF2 and Half-Life 2 + episodes (which I didn’t have at the time). Valve never charged more than oh I think it was about $20 for Portal by itself, so just like Recettear, an excellent semi-Indie game was pretty much a no brainer at that price point.

    But Portal 2 isn’t $20 any more! It’s ~$50 now, and this massive ARG is kinda masking is a question that I think is quite important: does the Portal idea scale up from a $20 game to a full-priced $50 game? I mean, we all know they’ve added in all sorts of new toys to master as well as co-op modes., but really – is it going to be worth it?

    And the other thing that kinda weirds me out about the ARG is that people are almost shitting their pants dropping their Milky Ways in excitement because the release date might have been moved up a bit. But, well, just look at it. Portal 2 was “scheduled” to be released next week, but releasing it later today mean shaving a grand total of what, four or five days off of that schedule? Portal 2′s almost certainly been done for at least a week or two now, and to be quite frank (if you’ll be surely) I’ve pretty much convinced myself that the initial release date was false anyway. I mean, who the hell releases a game on Tuesday of all things? Nobody will be able to play it until the weekend, and if they try to do it anyway they’ll be zombies for the rest of the week, so you’re just dampening out the initial word-of-mouth excitement; and on the Portal 2 Steam page, the release date was never more specific than April until recently (IIRC).

    I’m just not convinced that Portal 2 will be worth the full-price, and I’m not entirely certain that Valve has managed to provide convincing evidence that it will be – this ARG has been entertaining, but it almost seems like a distraction. While we’ve been playing with the clever puzzles that Valve and various indies have crafted, there’s been not that much information on Portal 2 itself. It’s just kinda weird. Also it’s 2:30 am, which probably has something to do with it.

    All that being said, I’ve pre-ordered Portal 2 (the first full-price game I’ve bought in literally years!)* and am eagerly awaiting its unlock, be it later today or next week.

    *I wouldn’t be surprised, actually, if it kinda turns out that part of the executive backing for things like this ARG are to get some sales numbers that they can turn around and show to shareholders or whoever (I don’t even know if Valve is publicly traded actually…) and be like, “Look! We can sell full-priced games when they’re good enough and backed by a good marketing campaign, we don’t just sell discounted games!”

    Makes sense to my sleep-addled head, at least.

    • Archonsod says:

      Valve is a private company, so no, they wouldn’t need to do anything to please shareholders. Problem is Portal 2 is cross platform, and I can’t see Sony being very appreciative of Valve releasing early unless they’d already cleared it with them; generally the console owners lock you down to stop you releasing on other formats while they trap you in QA limbo.

      And you’ll find games are released on Tuesdays throughout Europe on a rather regular basis. It’s only the weirdos who release them on Friday …

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      I have no money and cant afford Portal 2, mainly because I made the ‘what a shame’ mistake of pre-ordering my very first new-release game ever too. Crysis 2 was not a good use of that money for me, so boo to that. Anyways, I have been trying to make myself feel better about not being able to buy Portal 2 right now, and your paragraphs have been something of a soothing balm to that need. I needed some cynicism to make it more tolerable that I am probably gonna wait a few months to play this game, potentially having to wait for cute little droids who love me and want to kill me, and possibly some half-life universe infos.

    • Maykael says:

      It’s Valve, don’t worry. They never fucked up a game.:)

    • Milky1985 says:

      If it was released early it would be early by about 3 days, its really not much. Only odd for the UK release, which afaik is still thursday, bit odd but before easter (but will be checking with game this weekend, rant about game all you want but my local store seems to be clued up and very chatty and actually game players!)

      I think valve are oddly one of hte few companies that have power over the publishers not the other way around, EA probably really like that they are publishing valve games for the consoles and i bet there was a fight behind the scenes to get those publisher rights.

    • Deano2099 says:

      It’s a fair point, I was excited about Portal 2 more than anything else in the Orange Box (and other than a single game of TF2, I’ve not yet touched the rest of it) but that was down to the fascinating concept.

      What I didn’t expect when playing it was the wonderful story, world, and writing. Which I why I’m legitimately excited about Portal 2. Even if the mechanics outstay their welcome somewhat, or the new toys introduced don’t work brilliantly, they still have the narrative and writing to fall back on and carry it through.

    • Archonsod says:

      “I think valve are oddly one of hte few companies that have power over the publishers not the other way around”

      If only. Digital still doesn’t account for most sales, and even if it did about the best you can say for Valve is they could be highly influential in terms of PC revenue. I’ll let you work out how important PC revenue is to Sony.

    • Milky1985 says:

      @Archonsod

      I would hazard a guess money was paid to valve by sony (if not money, then a whole load of support that they would normally only give to first/second party titles) to get portal 2 and so future valve products onto the PS3. Valve are a bit like blizzard in this resepect, they do the choosing not the other way around.

  24. calavera says:

    I get why so many people are agreeing with the early release theory. What I don’t get is how that could be the answer, especially if it’s only that. Wouldn’t it be a bit anti-climactic, after all the clues and hard work and speculation, to just release a game 4 friggin’ days earlier than was scheduled? Are we that easily entertained and/or so jaded about release schedules that 4 days equates to a some great prize?? There has to be something bigger tied in here… HL2:E03, extra Portal 1 content, who knows… but I just can’t see this being the only thing that will happen when the countdown …erm… counts down.

    • CaLe says:

      The ARG would be enjoyed by many people even if there was no pay-off in the end. The fact they might release the game early is more than enough of a reward.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Ah intrinsic VS extrinsic motivation. The ARG is its own reward :)

      If you know binary and hex, at least. I havent understood a single effing one of these puzzles. And I dont own the potato sack. So generally boo and grump to everything.

    • Stompywitch says:

      Even if all I personally got out of this was an extra level for The Ball, I’m happy, because that may just be my game of 2010. And mixing it with Portal, another favourite… even better.

  25. Jonathan says:

    I am having a really hard time mustering any enthusiasm for Portal 2. I adored Portal, and this one sure does look pretty, but I think I’m maybe overestimating the importance of co-op. I only want the single-player part, and don’t want that to be half-baked, or just some small portion of the full experience.

    I guess I’m just trying to say that it doesn’t matter if it releases early — I’ll be waiting cautiously for opinions about the single-player campaign before taking the plunge.
    Edited to add: Yes to Tacroy.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      I have no friends and view humans with suspicion, so I wont be playing the co-op either. Very much hoping the single player is the star attraction.

      That said my dad loves half life and has played a bit of portal 1, so maybe I have a willing (if slightly slow, bless) co-op partner right there.

    • Deano2099 says:

      Single player is 3 times the size of Portal 1, co-op is twice as long as Portal 1 apparently.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Ah thats interesting. I want to play through co-op in case theres some important half-life-iverse story snippets in there too, but I am gonna be more about the single player at first.

    • Groove says:

      I also view humans with suspicion.

      From the perspective of being human.

      A human like me.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Ah we stand united in our misanthrop..ia? I don’t know the right form of that word.

      Misanthropism? Misanthropomorphism? Misanthropy? Misan..thropicness?

    • stahlwerk says:

      Misanthropy. Believe me, I know.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Misanthropia sounds like a really unfriendly city.

  26. MuscleHorse says:

    Our minds will all be blown when Episode 3 is released at the end of the timer.

    Is anyone else hoping for some news on the Freeman through Portal 2, what with it being a spin off? There were a few references to Black Mesa/the wider picture in the first game, such as Glados stating ‘you don’t even know what’s been happening up there, do you?’

  27. abhishek says:

    Does no one else think that Valve would not want to piss off retailers by pre-empting their release date by a week?

    • thegooseking says:

      I agree. If they were still just a PC developer, who would care? Retail is a weak portion of PC sales, anyway.

      But since they’re moving to a full-on multiplatform strategy, they’re very likely to want to keep the retailers sweet.

      They could be looking at a long-term game, where digital distribution will catch up on the consoles to where it already is on PC. You can bet Valve would want a piece of that pie. Upsetting retailers in the short term is not necessary for that, though.

    • Unaco says:

      Yes… Valve, the creators of the Steam digital distribution platform, who have been eschewing standard bricks and mortar shops since before they released their second game. Indeed, the predicament of their retail competitors is their primary concern.

    • Deano2099 says:

      I think the fact that the game was getting a worldwide release on Steam on the same day as the US retail launch, meaning it was going to come out ‘early’ for European retailers anyway, demonstrates they have a different sort of arrangement.

      Also it’ll only be the PC version. I doubt that accounts for many of the retail copies, they’ll mostly be 360 and PS3 and they’re coming out the same day as originally planned. Plenty of games come out on PC after consoles, it’s nothing more than the opposite of that.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Unaco: It just wouldn’t be prudent. That much is obvious. How are you going to get the console editions to people if shops refuse to stock them?

    • Unaco says:

      @ Lilliput King.

      How about a method, with which Valve are very familiar, that they were pioneers of, perhaps that they even created (if not, certainly brought to the mainstream). It’s called DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION. Valve seem very keen on that, don’t you know.

    • thegooseking says:

      @Unaco

      Microsoft and Sony have a monopoly on their respective consoles’ digital distribution platforms. Valve’s not going to be interested in console digital distribution unless they can ink a deal with those notoriously closed platforms.

      Even if Valve could get Microsoft and Sony to agree to some terms, Valve still won’t be interested unless something is done to make digital distribution a more attractive option for consoles. As it is, it’s expensive (due to that monopoly thing), and far from user-friendly (disk space is at a premium, and there’s no way to back up your games, for one thing). These are two reasons I think digital distribution hasn’t taken off on console as much as it has on PC.

    • Archonsod says:

      It’s not just digital distribution, if you want to develop for the PS3 or Xbox you need a license from Sony or Microsoft to do so. Even then, they have the right to refuse to allow your release if it fails their Q&A testing.

      That said there’s a few games which have had PC release first and a later port to the consoles. It’s not unlikely or impossible for a similar thing here, particularly given it’s a PC oriented developer and franchise.

  28. D3xter says:

    There was a sound sounding theory on them Steam forums what the potatoes might be for… regarding potatoes, electricity and GLaDOS:
    http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1835057

    That said, I’ll be pissed if it unlocks on Steam today and I have to wait for my delivery till the 21st xD

    • Edawan says:

      I pre-ordered a box on Amazon and I’m kicking myself at the thought of the game being released four days early on steam…

  29. terry says:

    Please tag this with ARGH.

  30. jussipe says:

    I think it will be an announcement for customisable Mann Co. crocodile leather shoes in Team F. TWO !

  31. Baris345 says:

    Maybe Valve will literally make 4/15/2011_9AM turn into 4/19/2011_7am . That they’ve discovered how to manipulate time to their will would make up for it not being Half-Life 3.

    • thegooseking says:

      Then all those 9-5 weekday workers with their inflated sense of proletarian entitlement would whine about losing their weekend. There may even be threats of legal action. Or at least threats to never buy a Valve product again. This is why office staff get a bad reputation in the media, and why the news is so quick to blame real-world violence on corporate employment.

  32. ado says:

    I’ve already assumed the party escort submission position. It’s only a matter of time before I get dragged away…

  33. Unaco says:

    Portal 2 is now available as part of the Portal 2 + Potato Sack. Apparently, Portal 2 is an “Indie” title, going by the “Huge savings on 14 Indie games” line there.

    The ARG has been quite impressive… haven’t followed it too closely, haven’t been participating, just checking the updates and some of the sites involved… following the story more than the puzzles/clues. Was quite obvious what it was all about – early release of Portal 2, building of the GLaDoS/HalfLife mythos/universe – but there are a couple of small things that might point to something beyond that, some things that are Half Life related, no doubt, but possibly not that related to Portal… like the Uplifts and the talking Racoon… what was all that about?

    • hogofwar says:

      Well, at what line does being Indie stop at?

    • wcaypahwat says:

      developed in-house, self published…. it’s basicaly the definition of indie, isn’t it?

    • Oneironaut says:

      I was thinking recently that the reason Valve is so well-liked is that they are kind of indie. They don’t have to answer to any publisher when they make decisions in the same way so many other developers do, and they don’t have any shareholders to answer to.

      This allows them to do whatever they want, which is why they can take such good care of their customers

  34. Mario Figueiredo says:

    Can it be, Episode 3 finally!!

  35. Enzo says:

    Am I really the only one who doesn’t care about Portal 2 at all? Portal 1 was very overrated, and the amout of memes that came out of it made me kinda hate this series. I’m already terrified just thinking about the memes that Portal 2 will create.

    • D3xter says:

      Yes you are, and Portal was one of the most amazing games of the last decade, I bought the Orange Box for it alone and it was more than worth it and then some :P

    • Enzo says:

      I just can’t wait for the second internet flood of “TEH CAKE IS A LIE”.

    • AndrewC says:

      It will be enormously bad for your happiness if you can’t seperate out the original thing from the memery, hype and cultural fluff that builds up around it.

      What would you have Valve do? Try and make their game meme-proof by putting nothing memorable, funny or clever into it?

      Ultimately you’re just shutting yourself off from joy by letting the noise distract you from the signal.

      Joy!

    • Baboonanza says:

      One of my primary reasons for getting the game at release is to enjoy the game first-hand before the flood of memes reduces my enjoyment of it.

    • Bhazor says:

      I bought the Orange Box solely for Portal based on the Zero Punctuation and PCG reviews and I was disapointed. It just never progressed as a puzzle game and listening to the commentaries it’s clear how much you were lead by the nose and how little room there was for your own solutions. Now the challenge rooms I was told added to the meager length were just blatant rehashes of the campaign maps with some arbitary move limit added. So I think as a £30 game (what I paid for the box) it was very light on content but as a £10 budget title it was excellent. Hopefully now being standalone and full price it should actually be long enough for a decent challenge to build up.

      That said the memes from it were always terrible but you can’t blame the makers for that.
      Just mankind.

    • Enzo says:

      Well, yeah, you’re both right, I’m definitely overreacting about the “memery”. I just really absolutely hate the current state of the internet gaming society, which is just full of horrible memes, useless quoting just for the sake of saying quotes, internet slang and acronyms, lolspeak etc. That’s why I don’t like Portal very much because it reminds me of all this stuff. Right now I can’t separate Portal from the dumb parts of the Internet (basically 4chan).

    • MuscleHorse says:

      This coming from a person who posts on a site where saying ‘What a shame.’ is the height of comedy.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      I hate Richard Dawkins for inventing the word meme, which is itself an overused meme. Also for reminding me of a pervy schoolteacher.

      And no I’m not a christian. Just someone who is creeped out by that guy. He’s creepy in the same way a really limp, damp handshake is creepy.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      “Portal 1 was very overrated, and the amout of memes that came out of it made me kinda hate this series.”

      I hate it too when people enjoy something. Especially when they talk about how much they enjoyed it, and quote their favourite bits of it. Humans shouldn’t be allowed to be happy—it says that right here in the Human Testing Personnel Treatment Handbook: “87% of all human testers perform more efficiently when sad. And they look silly when they frown, so that’s funny too.”

    • Archonsod says:

      Portal bored me too, and I got it free. Uninstalled it after about an hour or so, but then I find puzzle games in general to be pretty tedious. Apart from Puzzle Quest, which I have no idea why I find so appealing but I suspect there’s something subliminal going on. Damn thing is worse than crack.

  36. Kaira- says:

    I have quite mixed feelings about Portal 2. First one was a nice timewaster for about one and half hours, but how does that turn into a full-length game? And, on top of that, I recent preview I read on a gaming magazine suggests that single player-campaign has a nice start, horribly boring middle part and a really good end.

    Oh well, I’ll wait for a proper review or two and then grab it from sale, maybe.

    • AndrewC says:

      I finished Portal in 35 minutes on my first run through while washing my dog, *and* I got the secret, good ending.

    • Baboonanza says:

      I finsihed it in 10 minutes and I wasn’t even trying, just dusting my desk.

    • Ralphomon says:

      I finished Portal in 20 seconds, both hands tied behind my back, blindfolded, and I did it so well that Valve sent me a letter of congratulations and I am considered a god in some sub-Saharan African countries.

    • Baboonanza says:

      Did you do it by putting the joystick in your mouth? If so that’s quite the image…

    • Kaira- says:

      If Ralphomon had been any faster, he’d probably travelled back in time and finished it before it even came out.

    • Very Real Talker says:

      1 hour and a half sounds reasonable, I’m not kidding. If you had no problems with the two “difficult” puzzles in the game, 1 hour is a reasonable figure for a first playthrough

    • Bhazor says:

      Yes Portal is incredibly short and also completely linear. I eked out every minute I could examining every inch of the level, trying (and failing) to find side areas with any content and it still took me considerably less than three hours. Yes you can say people who rush through games are missing the point but you can’t say that about people who finish Portal in a couple hours.

    • sneetch says:

      I finished it while still installing it. The install meter had only reached 56% by the time the final credits finished playing.

  37. Bhazor says:

    If all that bru-ha-ha was just to announce a game was coming out four days early I will be incredibly disappointed.

    • qrter says:

      If Valve do release Portal 2 four days early on Steam, it would be a pretty big move, from a digital distribution perspective.

      It would be the first time Steam would actually use a significant ‘power’ it has over brick and mortar retail. It certainly would impress me.

    • Bhazor says:

      And as has been pointed out above it would also piss off a lot of people who preordered on Amazon (where its considerably cheaper than Steam, natch) and now have to wait four days longer to play the game.

      No, I seriously hope that isn’t the revelation not just because it would be a let down but because it would be a real dick move to a lot of customers. Not to mention EA.

    • Fwiffo says:

      If this is what happens, you got it considerably cheaper instead of earlier. That’s good too if you like that sort of thing. Sometimes you can’t have it all.

    • sneetch says:

      I don’t think it would be the first time for European customers. Didn’t the Steam version of L4D and L4D2 release earlier than the retail versions in Europe? Didn’t it release on the same day as the US one?

      Genuine question, I seem to remember it happening like that but it might have happened in magical dreamland. :)

    • Serenegoose says:

      but they don’t have to wait four days longer to play it. They’ll still get it on the 19th, when they expected it. Further, the message on the counter doesn’t even partially ambiguously say that the game comes out today. It says that there’s a final test. That could take days to solve, if it is solved at all.

    • Deano2099 says:

      Has the Amazon price gone up? It’s £24.91 right now, it’s £26.99 on steam, or £23.99 if you get a double pack with a friend.

  38. Mario Figueiredo says:

    Meanwhile, the snooty Glados has a bug and doesn’t account for different timezones; or doesn’t care, the xenophobe SOB. Tomorrow is not in 4 hours, over here.

  39. RagingLion says:

    But what happens if you it pre-ordered in the form of a physical box (like me)? How would they agree to the game being released early? Either they’re deceiving their customers by posting the wrong release date or their customers get the game way later? Surely that can’t happen?

    • Deano2099 says:

      You bought the box, there was a release date attached, you’ll get the game on that release date. I very much doubt box copies will get shipped out early (EU box date is already a few days after the Steam release anyway).

      Doing this on purpose and announcing might actually be a good incentive to get people to go digital. Though it sure won’t help with piracy.

    • Bilbo says:

      Ever heard of Steam?

    • Bhazor says:

      Reply to Bilbo

      Ever heard of paying for preorders?

    • Bilbo says:

      …Yes, I paid for my preorder of Portal 2. On steam.

      It was more a “the first comment reads like the guy’s never heard of Steam” sort of comment, not a “you shud use steam olo” sort of comment

    • RagingLion says:

      :) I think I’ve heard of Steam. I’m still working out what my general policy on these things should be, but I think I’d just like to have a physical copy of everything I buy for more than £20 or something like that. Granted I didn’t do that for L4D2 but then the 4-pack via Steam for that was a really good deal.

  40. Teddy Leach says:

    If it’s episode 3, I could laugh at all you silly humans and say “they fooled you”.

  41. Spork says:

    So (if this speculation is true) just when we’re trying to get games released on the same day in different regions, they go and separate the digital and physical release dates as well.

    But no matter – everyone’s got fast, uncapped broadband so nobody’s going to feel ignored or lied to.

  42. BunnyMaz says:

    If it helps drum up excitement for those of you who are concerned about it just being an early release date…

    ApertureAI on Formspring has confirmed that GlaDOS built the Borealis.

    http://www.formspring.me/ApertureAI/q/183162570461446293

  43. dragonhunter21 says:

    Oh SNAP

    That weird hash there is “potato”, apparently. Still up in the air if Garry’s messing with us.

  44. adonf says:

    This whole ARG thing made no sense to me. Hmpf, kids theses days. Still I wouldn’t mind having potatoes on my Steam profile page that no one ever sees. How do you collect potatoes ?

  45. TheApologist says:

    If, at the end of this timer, the g-man appears and has a chat with GlaDOS, I will vomit with excitement.

    Promise.

    • Milky1985 says:

      Highly doubt that user is part of the arg, simply because if it was they would keep galdos speaking like glados, she would never use one simple word and talk in riddles.

      Whiel its possible it will be out today I think that is a troll user.

  46. Schaulustiger says:

    I didn’t really care about the ARG during the course of the last two weeks, but since I had a slow work today, I read the complete overview about what happened and have to say: Holy shit! That is quite some achievement to decipher all the clues. I vote for an early Portal 2 release just for those people, they absolutely deserve it.

  47. PopeBob says:

    I will be in class an hour away from my desktop writing out ridiculous Arabic words on an exam sheet when this countdown timer reaches zero. I feel it is likely my mind will shatter and I will both fail the exam and destroy all future ability to access the game through my visual cortex. This is what your mid-day timer has done to me, Valve. It has made me brain-damaged.

    I hope you are pleased.

  48. mollemannen says:

    funny if we all just died in about three hours :D

  49. Perkelnik says:

    Beer.

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